Policing without Consent24 min read

Policing without Consent - Cashflow Cop Police Financial Independence
(no. 070)

George Floyd

When I first heard about the death of George Floyd and clicked on the video that was circulating worldwide, I was lost for words.

The first time I viewed the video, I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it until the end.

Despite several attempts since, I still haven’t been able to sit through the whole thing.

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts since, attempt to understand the imperfect world we live in and how the tragic death of George Floyd was allowed to happen.

I’m still struggling to put down into words how I feel, because truthfully, I’m haven’t quite processed it.  Had I written this post sooner, it would have likely been filled with anger and despair.

I stand alongside those who are appalled by the tragic way George Floyd died.

 

Race and Policing

“…the police are the public and that the public are the police…”

The Peelian Principles, Sir Robert Peel, 1829

The quote above is an extract of principle 7 from the Peelian Principles, written almost two centuries ago which sets out the principles of an ethical Police Force.

It means that the relationship between the Police and public should be maintained at all times.  The strength of the Police is in its ability to police with consent.

That consent comes from the knowledge that Police Officers should be impartial and accountable for their actions.

The police seek and preserve public favor, not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to the law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws; by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of society without regard to their race or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humor; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

The Peelian Principles, Sir Robert Peel, 1829

I’ll return to some of these principles later.

It is thought one of the earliest black Police Officers in the UK was John Kent (1835-1836).  I have heard of stories of what it was like to be an Officer in the 1980s and 1990s for BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) Officers.  I have always been speechless when I hear colleagues recount their experiences.

When Officers share these stories with me, it always ended with words to the effect: “that’s just how it was”.  Like such behaviour were the norm and somehow became accepted but not acceptable.

I cannot begin to imagine what it was like for Constable Kent.

Fast forward 185 years to 2020 and where are we now?

The Murder of Stephen Lawrence

In the UK, it would be remiss to talk about race relations and the Police without referencing the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.  It is also known as the Macpherson Report because the inquiry was chaired by Sir William Macpherson, a retired High Court judge.

It has been over 20 years since the report was published.  It was ordered by the government after the murder of Stephen Lawrence in a racist attack in 1993.

Four years after his death, a public inquiry was ordered and it wasn’t until 1999 that the report published.

Contained within the 350 pages of that damning report were 70 recommendations for the Metropolitan Police (London) for which the inquiry found were incompetent, corrupt and institutionally racist.

Institutional Racism – “The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

– The Macpherson Report (1999), pg. 49

Stop and Search

According to the Home Office, black people are nine and a half times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched (between April 2018 and March 2019).

Based on what has been suggested as Home Office internal data; in the year to March 2018, Black people in England and Wales were 40 times more likely to be stopped.

Pause for a moment.

Let that last number sink in.

The official published stats from 2010 to 2018 were:

Racial Imbalance - Stop Search - Cashflow Cop Police Financial Independence
Source: Full Fact based on Home Office Data

Use of Force

Between April 2018 to March 2019, the Home Office stats show that the Police were more likely to use force against people perceived as black compared to white.  Of the use of force incidents recorded, 16% related to black people when they make up only 3.3% of the population in England and Wales (ONS Census 2011).  This compares to 70% of incidents relating to white people when they make up 87.1% of the population.

Put another way, being black means someone is four times more likely to have Police force used against them than if they were white.

Arrest

For the year ending 31st March 2019, Black individuals were over three times more likely to be arrested compared to people who self-identify as White in England and Wales.

Likelihood of being arrested - Cashflow Cop Police Financial Independence
Source: Arrests table A.04, Home Office

Imprisonment

The Ministry of Justice analysis for England and Wales found that young black people were nine times more likely to be jailed than white people.

The Lammy Review found that there was greater disproportionality in the number of black prisoners in England and Wales than in the US.

“Black people make up 3% of population in England and Wales and 12% of the prison population, compared with 13% and 35% respectively, in the US”

– MP David Lammy, 2017

The review also found that black men are 26% more likely than white men to be remanded in custody. They are also nearly 60% more likely to plead not guilty.

The Sentencing Council conducted a piece of research in 2020 which found that a black offender was 1.4 times more likely to receive an immediate custody sentence compared to a white offender for drugs related offences.

However, the same research also found that statistically, black offenders did not receive different custodial sentences compared to white offenders.

A 2016 study by the Ministry of Justice found that black men were 26% more likely to be denied bail and remanded into custody at Crown Court compared to white men.

Deaths in Custody

Over the past 10 years, 163 people have died in, or following Police custody in England and Wales.

Of all these deaths, 13 were black.

As a proportion of the of the black population in England and Wales, a black individual was twice as likely to die in Police custody.

However, as the BBC found, when the same figures are used to compare against the percentage of people arrested – a white individual was 25% more likely to die in custody than a black individual.

Hate Crime

According to Government figures, since 2012/13, the number of hate crime reported to the Police has more than doubled to 103,379 offences in England and Wales.  76% of these relate to race hate crime.

“While increases in hate crime over the last five years have been mainly driven by improvements in crime recording by the police, there has been spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU Referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017.”

– Home Office, Hate Crime 2018/19

No data was reported for hate crime against different ethnicities in 2018/19.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales for 2015/16 to 2017/18 found that adults in non-White ethnic groups were more likely to be victims of a racially motivated hate crime than White adults (for example, 1.1% of Asian and 0.6% of Black adults compared with 0.1% of White adults).

Percentage of adults aged 16 and over who were victims of racially-motivated hate crime and all CSEW crime, by ethnic group, 2015/16 to 2017/18:

Crime Survey of England and Wales - Race Hate Crime - Cashflow Cop Police Financial Independence
Source: CSEW, ONS

The table above shows the people from a Black ethnic group were six times more likely to be a victim of race hate crime to people from a White ethnic group.

BAME Representation

If the police are the public and the public are the police, then it is vital for the ethnicity of Police Officers in a given area to broadly represent the different communities they serve.

A 2020 study by the Police Foundation found that between 2007 and 2018, black police representation barely changed from 1,412 to 1,498 officers.

A gain of 86 officers in 11 years.

That’s 7.8 officers per year.

That’s a gain of 0.18 black officer per police force in England and Wales per year over that time period.

Some will still say at least that’s a positive number…

Data from the Government shows that at the end of March 2019, 93.1% of police officers were white and 1.2% were black.

Remember that black people represent 3.3% of the population in England and Wales (2011 Census).

Interpretation

Statistics; use and interpret with caution.

Numbers can only tell so much.  There are inherent limits to the methodology and the data itself.  They can also be subject to manipulation.

I report these numbers here without interpretation or comment on cause and effect.

I leave that to you.

Review after review and inquiry after inquiry.  Some of the recommendations are accepted; some are ignored.

What is clear is that the relationship between the Police and the Black community remain just as strained as they ever were.

I take you back to Sir Robert Peel, where two of his other principles are relevant here:

Principle 4 – The degree of cooperation of the public that can be secured diminishes, proportionately, to the necessity for the use of physical force and compulsion in achieving police objectives.

Principle 6 – Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.

The introduction of body worn video cameras in the UK and the US is a positive step forward with some evidence to find that it helps reduce the number of allegations against officers and build trust.

The question that is often asked by some: why are officers not required to have the camera on at all times during an interaction with members of the public?  After all, it is being made compulsory for all bailiffs, so why not for the Police?

The answer to that isn’t simple with lots of factors to consider such as ethics, law and not least the public are not all in favour as many might think – see (here, here, here, here)

My colleagues and I still have a lot of work to do and a lot to learn in order to live up to all nine principles.

“Policing in this country is entirely imperfect. An imperfect response to an imperfect world. But the overwhelming majority of women and men who wear the uniform joined for the same simple reason.

They wanted to help people…”

– John Sutherland, retired Police Commander, UK

Up to now, I have for the most, kept my opinion out of this post.  The next few sections represent my own personal view which will likely evolve as I continue to learn.  These views have been formed as part of my experience living in the UK as a monitory, but also through discussions with friends and family over recent weeks.

I am speaking for myself.  I am not speaking on behalf of any specific ethnic community or for British Policing.

I’d like to make a few comments about the stats above before we move on.

I have heard views from both ends of the spectrum and everything in between.  At one end: the police are not only institutionally racist but that all officers are individually racist.   At the other end: that black people are predisposed to criminal behaviour.   Both views are absurd and comes from a place of prejudice.

Is British Policing and the Criminal Justice System still institutionally racist?

I would be very cautious to draw any conclusion solely on the stats above.  The numbers make uncomfortable reading, and without doubt, the outcomes recorded paint a bleak picture.

 

Listen

I am not a Black Officer.

I am not a White Officer.

As a minority ethnic officer who grew up in a school where White students were in the minority; I continue to consider myself ignorant to the struggles Black people face, past and present.

What I mean is to have a real and genuine understanding of inter-generational injustice and inequality many Black people have faced and continue to face.  The Black experience.

For this, I would need to live through it myself.

I sensed the dislike towards the Police all through secondary school from my peers.  I would have been bullied had I voiced any ambition of being a Police Officer.  I was young and didn’t think too much as to why that was.  I just assumed this feeling was shared by everyone in society.

I studied hard and managed to get the grades to move to a sixth form grammar school.  White students were in the majority here where I did not sense the same animosity towards the Police.

Growing up, I’ve suffered racism.  Whilst I don’t intend to minimise such events against people of non-Black ethnicity, I can’t even begin to imagine the frustration many Black people feel.

The sad truth is that George Floyd is not the first and will not be the last.

How many other George Floyd’s has there been, where grieving families struggle for justice with no video evidence to help them?

How many other George Floyd’s has there been, where despite evidence, the system has failed to deliver justice?

It is important that I continue to listen, to learn.

Two things occurred recently:

First – I had a conversation with a friend not long ago where I blindly used the term “abolished slavery in the 19th century”.

He repeated the word “abolished” in a strange tone.

We continued talking for a while but it played on my mind.

I asked him if he wouldn’t mind explaining to me why he disliked what I said earlier.  That was when I first heard about the 13th Amendment and the Jim Crow laws.

Second – The conversation above reminded me of how I recall the history of British colonialism being taught in school – seen in a positive light – such as “spreading culture”, enlightenment, democracy and infrastructure whilst completely skipping the fact that the empire also involved; conquest, slavery and millions of people killed.

I give the two examples above to reinforce the need for me to educate and in some instances, re-educate myself.

It is my responsibility to be better informed on important issues like these.

I am taking the time to reflect.  Listening is vital in this process.

 

Act

Policing in the UK is very different to the US.

We aim to police with consent.

This is why the vast majority of Police Officers in the UK are not routinely armed with a lethal firearm.

Policing is a privilege.

In my 13 years as an Officer, I have not come across an overt display of racism by another Officer directed towards me, directed towards another Officer or directed towards a member of the public.

During this period of time, I have seen the Police, particularly my own constabulary change for the better and continuously learning to better serve the community; all communities.

Critics may say there is flaw in my reported experience because my mere presence could quickly quell any report writing room conversations which could have a negative racial undertone.  Similarly, why would an Officer use excessive force on a BAME member of the public with me acting as a potential witness against them.

However, I can genuinely say that I’ve come across lazy Officers, dishonest Officers or even incompetent Officers, but I have not come across a racist one.  I feel welcomed and have only positive things to say about my time in the Police.

Having said that, I do feel the pressure to work even harder than my White colleagues to ensure I demonstrate everything I achieve is on merit alone.  I don’t know how much of this pressure comes from within myself or is external.

I recognise that my experience being on the ‘inside’ is different to the Black community.

There are currently over 120,000 Police Officers in England and Wales.

I am certain that there are racist Officers amongst us – they just hide it well; but I would like to think that they are few and far between.

It is everyone’s duty to report and challenge racial discrimination whenever we come across it.

Acquiescing is not an option.

Start those difficult conversations with family, friends and colleagues.

If there are differing opinions, don’t shy away from them.  Delve deeper.  Pick away at the different layers to understand why some people hold certain views.

I think it is the best way for a society to slowly change.

Being a passive non-racist is not enough.

Be anti-racist.

Be anti-inequality.

Be anti-injustice.

 

All Lives Matter

I often hear this term reported and repeated as a response to ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM).

I think those who make it completely miss the point.

Of course all lives matter.  It doesn’t matter what someone’s ethnicity is, all lives are equally important.

The reason why there is a need for society to be reminded that Black lives matter is because quite clearly, history and current events shows that Black lives do not matter; particularly in America.

The UK is not innocent.

Excusing or downplaying racism in the UK by comparing it against the US has been described as “200 years of moral posturing and historical amnesia“.  I can’t put it any better myself.

I do not believe we can compare Policing in the UK against the US.  The anger I can see in the UK is not just about the interaction between the Black community and the Police, but the existence of racial bias inherent in every aspect of our daily lives.

I’ve read lots of comments on news articles and social media by people who are actually angry and fed up with those who are speaking up.  The audacity.

I’ve heard arguments from clearly irritated individuals who truly believe that people’s perception of racial discrimination is as a result of individuals not trying hard enough to make something for themselves.  That they simply expect special treatment and that they should stop living in the past.  That they are responsible for their own failings, come from broken homes and using racial discrimination as a convenient excuse.  Classic victim blaming.

My personal opinion is that until we, as a nation, admit racial discrimination continues to be a deeply rooted issue in this country then real change cannot occur.

Our ambition and leadership appears to be severely lacking in this area.

Every now and again this important topic is thrust into the media’s attention due to an awful event for a brief period.  Before long, it is forgotten about and the majority of society move on; leaving the minorities exactly where we were before.

The difficult conversations which need to take place don’t really go on long enough for mindsets to change.  Those in positions of great influence no longer feel the pressure to reform and acknowledge past mistakes.

We return to where we were.

No progress.

 

History is written by the victors

“…for history is written by the victors and framed according to the prejudices and bias existing on their side.”

– Missouri Sen. George Graham Vest, 1891

The headlines in the UK has been dominated by stories of statues being removed or vandalised.

Let me be clear – I do not condone unlawful behaviour.

It makes it even worse if such damage is done based on incorrect beliefs or disputed facts.

However, I understand how such acts have been born out of built up frustrations.

To have people who are known to hold racists views held up and celebrated is wholly inappropriate regardless of their other achievements.  In doing so, it shows no thought to how many in the BAME community feel.

I have heard an argument which goes something like this: those individuals whose statues are celebrated cannot be judged by today’s values because the moral values were different during their time. 

I believe philosophers call this moral relativism.

I’m definitely not a philosopher, nor a historian.  In my simple mind, I can’t disagree with such an argument more.

Just because in the past, the majority of society believed racial discrimination is acceptable either out of ignorance or malice does not make it right.  Take Winston Churchill for example.  If I were able to speak to members of the Black community during Winston Churchill’s time, what would they say to me in relation to their treatment at the time?

Put this another way.  If the issue is around something as fundamental as treating another fellow human being with respect and dignity through their words or actions; then whether it was 100 years ago or 300 years ago, these people should have known better.

(Note: from what I’ve read – his views were clearly unacceptable, even at that time)

History is important.  

It has been suggested that in removing these statues we are editing or censoring our past.  However, leaving out important details when we teach our children or not informing the public of their racist views on their plaques of achievement is utmost hypocrisy and dishonesty.

In a democratic society, if the majority wish to keep the statues, then this should be respected.  But do so in a manner which does not brush aside their significant failings.  In fact, highlight them in the same way we do about their achievements.  Only then will we teach our children to learn from past mistakes.

If we do not have the courage to face up to these truths, then place them into storage to gather dust or into a museum.

I do feel that the movement has reached a tipping point where rather than uniting, it is becoming divisive.  The focus on the statues whilst it may help to educate and provide a more balanced view of history, it has also provided an opportunity for some to re-enforce negative stereotypes due to the actions of the few.

 

Hope

To understand something doesn’t mean someone has to agree with it.

To empathise doesn’t require someone to apologise for mistakes made 300 hundred years ago.

This is not a political left versus right issue.  It is simply about standing up to racism, inequality and injustice.

When we talk about overt hate crime and individual racism, then by the time someone reaches the legal age for the Police to do something about it, it’s too late.

I believe that racism is taught.  It is nurtured within schools, our homes and with the people we choose to surround ourselves with.

It exists because people listen to a one-sided version of history.

Ignorance is a choice, but so is allowing future generations to remain so through the educational curriculum.  Look at me; I’m in my 30s and have only just started to really learn about Black history and the British Empire (the unedited version).

Change starts in the home.

The conversations that do or don’t take place when children are young whilst their minds are developing help to shape how they think and how they they interact with others.

When we talk about stamping out systemic or institutional racism, I don’t know how to solve that.  But I do know that staying silent is not the answer.

I know that the system is not perfect.  To expect fair and just treatment for all regardless of ethnicity is not something which should be asked for.  It does not need a perfect system for that.

As I have said; the UK and US are very different.  This is not about British ethnic minorities “jumping on the bandwagon” and creating an issue where there isn’t any.  We need to understand and highlight this issue better in a British context.

At work, I sense a resolute commitment to do much more both within our ranks and with our communities.

Yes, a tiny proportion of Officers behave badly; but if we tar all Officers with the same brush based on the actions of a few, it would only serve to harm the anti-racism movement.

Equally, with the protests that are happening around the country, a tiny minority are no more than criminal opportunists who not only vandalise, but were voilent towards Officers.  Don’t let those individuals distract us from the important conversations.

Blue or Black.  It matters not your occupation or ethnicity.  If you stand against racial discrimination and support peaceful protesting, then I’m with you.

If you stand for unlawful violence against people or property, then I’m against you.

Maybe this time real change will happen.

Without hope, then there’s no point striving for better.

We must all be better.

Before I end this post, I will leave two things which I hope might at least cause a moment of reflection.

Please take care of yourself and each other.

 

(1) – Jane Elliott

 

(2) – Akala on Institutional Racism and Knife Crime

If you found that Akala clip thought-provoking – see also his views on racism and the British Empire

 

Notes

(1) I have deliberately avoided the term ‘murder’ when referencing George Floyd.  Whilst it may appear obvious for many after watching that video; I remain a serving Officer, so must allow criminal proceedings to take its course.

(2) The blog is predominantly about personal finance and I try my best to stay on topic.  The long overdue conversations that are taking place including what is being said about my chosen vocation has compelled me to speak up and give my perspective.

 

References

  1. The Peelian Principles
  2. John Kent – Britain’s First Black Policeman

  3. Stephen Lawrence Inquiry
  4. Stephen Lawrence murder: A timeline of how the story unfolded

  5. Government 2018/19 Stop and Search figures
  6. Black people ‘40 times more likely’ to be stopped and searched in UK

  7. Full Fact – Stop and search in England and Wales
  8. Home Office Use of Force Statistics 2018/19
  9. ONS Census 2011
  10. Police powers and procedures England and Wales year, ending 31 March 2019

  11. Exploratory analysis of the youth secure estate by BAME groups
  12. The Lammy Review – An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System
  13. Exposed: ‘racial bias’ in England and Wales criminal justice system

  14. Investigating the association between an offender’s sex and ethnicity and the sentence imposed at the Crown Court for drug offences
  15. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic disproportionality in the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales

  16. Annual deaths during or following police contact statistics
  17. George Floyd death: How many black people die in police custody in England and Wales?

  18. Home Office Hate Crime Statistics 2018/19
  19. Home Office Hate Crime Statistics 2017/18
  20. A DIVERSITY UPLIFT? Police workforce gender and ethnicity trends from 2007 to 2018 and prospects for the future
  21. Government Police Ethnicity Statistics 
  22. Police, Camera, Evidence: London’s cluster randomised controlled trial of Body Worn Video
  23. IPCC position statement on body worn video
  24. College of Policing – Body Worn Video
  25. Big Brother Watch Report 2017
  26. London Policing Ethics Panel – Body Worn Video
  27. The 13th Amendment: History and Impact

  28. Jim Crow laws created ‘slavery by another name’

  29. Government definition of Policing by consent
  30. Britain is not America. But we too are disfigured by deep and pervasive racism

  31. Hit list of statues ‘Topple the Racists’ protesters want bringing down
  32. Fact check: Churchill statue defaced in London BLM protest, but social media posts show images from 2000 and 2010

  33. Moral Relativism
  34. Was Winston Churchill racist? Why some have accused the wartime PM of racism after London statue was defaced

 

More from the Blog

rule 43

An Immigrant Cop’s Perspective

“Living on one income, my dad’s £4 a day” ~ Fred’s Story

Humans of FI

Subscribe to Blog via Email

14 thoughts on “Policing without Consent

  1. live and let live Reply

    Very interesting and thought provoking. At the end of the day no change will happen as a result of the protests for the simple reason that you have to take the people with you when trying to effect change. Some of the actions being taken (by both people purporting to be from BLM and also far right activists) have done the exact opposite. Desecration of war memorials will never be acceptable to the people of this country – irrespective of the colour of their skin, their religious beliefs or sex.

    If you wish to change society – you must take society with you and gain their consent.

    • Cashflow Cop Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to read this. It’s such an important topic. I completely agree that society needs to come along for the journey if it has any chance of changing. The question is how? There are loud opposing groups and influential people who choose to believe a different narrative.

      Take the Bristol statue for example. Would we be having the conversation about Britain’s history had it not been for what happened there?

      This is what the ex-mayor of Bristol had to say:

      “We don’t have to condone vandalism to recognise cruelty and injustice,” said Mr Ferguson in the hours after the statue was toppled.

      “I now regret us not removing the Colston statue when I was Mayor to place it in Bristol Museum with full historical narrative – even though it would have been flying in the face of majority Bristol opinion,” he added.

      I don’t think he needed to remove it before the Bristol community was ready. But, an action plan to move in that direction and to have that accurate historical narrative where the statue is in the meantime would have been a good start.

  2. live and let live Reply

    The key statement for me is “even though that would be flying in the face of majority of Bristol opinion”. That’s not a democracy in action and is an excellent example of not taking the people with you.

    By all means, educate, cajole and debate with the people but ignoring the wishes of the majority goes against a society based on democracy. There will always be “loud and opposing views and influential people” – but we choose to live in a democratic society and move away from it at our peril. Ok, it can be argued that the majority are simply wrong – but that’s another major step away from democracy. I don’t believe a society can be changed by coercion and taking down statues against the wishes of the majority will simply harden their attitudes against the protest, no matter how noble the cause.

  3. weenie Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, CfC – very interesting and educational for me. In History at school, we were taught (among other things) the British Empire (we learned about the good and bad stuff but of course, mostly the good stuff) and Britain’s role in the slave trade. There is still so much that I was not aware of.

    I think like you, my brushes with racism have been few and far between and I have to say that it’s not even something I really think about. I think because of this, I have been largely ignorant (and perhaps dismissive) of the racism that others endure.

    I don’t believe in my lifetime that racism will be totally eradicated but there’s massive room for improvement and I believe educational is key..

    • Cashflow Cop Post author

      Hi Weenie. I’m the same. It hasn’t overtly affected me as much as some of my friends or the stories I have read which was why learning about the history and reasons has always been on my to-do list but never quite making it to the top.

      I’m am more pessimistic than you. I don’t think racism will ever be eradicated based the nature of our species and how selfish we all are to varying degrees. It has been over 200 years since the Slave Trade Act. I think this conversation will continue for at least another 200 to come.

  4. Seeking Fire Reply

    Interesting. Since you are looking at statistics. Now I understand why the EU is so upset that we have left.

    A 2018 survey being black in the EU found that the UK was one of the least racist countries in Europe with (a) approximately 80% of black people surveyed responding that they had not encountered any racial harassment in the past five years (figure 1) and (b) (summary) just 3% had said they had experience violence by racism in the UK. This compared to 50% of respondents in Germany / Italy encountering racial harassment and 14% of respondents in Finland encountering racial violence. https://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/fra-2019-being-black-in-the-eu-summary_en.pdf

    Perhaps having left the EU we can create a new industry seeking to export. our tolerant and multi-cultural society to those other countries in the EU, which appear to be less advanced. This is tongue in cheek of course.

    Put it another way, and this is a very generalist point, if you are black, I cannot think of many countries in the world, let alone the EU, where this is less of an issue and you are more welcomed than the UK. In general….Italy (no way), America (no way), Northern Europe (no way), China (no way in big capitals), Japan (no way in big capitals), most countries in the middle east (no way in big capitals), Russia (no way in big capitals)…..you can go on and on and on.

    We should be aiming for a higher ideal than least racist to no racism. But we should do that from the backdrop that we live in a country where the vast majority of people are broadly tolerant of their fellow man / woman regardless of the skin colour and we should be proud of that. Rather than self flagellation.

    As a side bar, I found the violent protests by english nationalists against the police force who continually seem to be stuck in the middle, at the week the most abhorrent spectacle of this whole affair. I rather feel that the tearing down of statues without democratic consent will feed this extremely unpleasant minority.

    • Cashflow Cop Post author

      Hi there – that’s a really interesting study; one which I will sit down and read properly. Just skimming some of the key findings; it would appear to be a study on individual racism as opposed to institutional – although the two might correlate, I don’t know.

      From personal experience, I would agree with the view that it seems to be more racist in some (maybe many) parts of Europe. I’ve received some very overt racist remarks and action whilst walking around in a busy high street and no one bats an eye lid. In relation to China and Japan, from what I have read and watched in some videos; I would tend to agree with that observation also.

      We should be aiming for a higher ideal than least racist to no racism.

      I totally agree on that statement.

    • Seeking Fire

      I’m probably over playing my hand here but..here’s another extract

      ‘Overall, 39% of respondents of African descent felt racially discriminated against in the five years
      before the survey. One in four (24 %) felt discriminated against in the 12 months before the survey. The highest perceived rates of discrimination in the 12-month period are found in Luxembourg (50 %), Finland (45 %), Austria (42 %) and Denmark (41 %). The lowest are found in the United Kingdom (15 %) and Portugal (17 %).’

      When you consider other factors such as Portugal has a population of just 10 million with significantly less population density than the UK (which can cause problems) and has very strong historic links to its historic African colonies then the UK has fared particularly well.

      You are right that it is focussed on the individual not the institutional.

      I am in no way saying that racism doesn’t exist in the UK. But I am proud to be a member of a country where by and large, where racism rears its ugly head and is known, it is increasingly called out and steps are taken to stamp it out. I acknowledge others may have different experiences. I do believe though these are increasingly and thankfully minority experiences and relative to so many other countries (I’m actually struggling to think of any with respect to black people), tolerance and equality is in much greater evidence in the UK than in other countries. There is clearly more to be done through discussion, debate and self introspection as to our own individual prejudices.

      The following is also perhaps of some interest. Funnily enough, if I had had to guess a couple of countries, before I clicked the link, I would have said New Zealand, Australia and maybe Canada all of which have historically had very close links to the UK.

      https://www.frontiersin.org/files/Articles/415320/fsoc-04-00012-HTML/image_m/fsoc-04-00012-g001.jpg

      ‘Prejudice against people of a different religion is very low in the UK (green dot, partially obscured between Australia and Sweden): under 5% would dislike having a neighbor of a different religion. In this, the UK is closely similar to the other Anglophone countries (blue dots).’

    • Cashflow Cop Post author

      Thank you for taking your time to share your thoughts.

      I’m probably over playing my hand here but…

      Carry on – overplaying your hand is exactly how we should be doing this. It’s the only way in which we can learn and see things from different sides even if we don’t agree on all points.

      My own feeling is that individual racism is relatively low in the UK when compared to other parts of the world and the studies you point out re-enforces this for me. Like you say; that’s not to say we should take our foot off the gas, give ourselves a pat on the back and call it a day.

      When we talk about overt individual racism, it is so much easier to track and research. However, we need to bear in mind recorded crimes will always tend to be under-reported so the stats will be lower than reality. This is made worse due to many BAME members of the community lacking faith in the Police and don’t see the point in reporting. Certain crimes types are also drastically under-reported such as sexual, domestic abuse and hate crime.
      Crime stats is also difficult to compare across countries because every country have different laws and crime recording standings.

      Surveys like the one you have highlighted are useful to provide context around some of the hard stats and allow for some perspective taking.

      I think the biggest problem is institutional racism. That’s so much more difficult to measure but the effects are longer lasting. It is possible that the symptoms appear to be in the outputs I have described above; from a Policing perspective at least. There are a few studies which have looked at this from other areas of life, such as immigration, housing, the workplace, education, social development etc. However, academically and theoretically, the term institutional racism is ambiguous which explains why there is a lack of empirical evidence. It’s a concept which is yet to be fully understood. I’m not sure when someone will have the “a-ha” moment where they define and illustrate it in such a way that it will convince people and become a force for change. There are just so many moving parts and variables to control to prove.

      For me; even though I don’t think the concept is there yet, it’s one of those things which I feel is happening and real. I can sense it but I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

      My guess – our upbringing, our class, our family, our friendship groups etc. all have a part to play in either heightening our senses to institutional racism or making us blind to it. As to how institutional racist the UK is compared to other countries? I have no idea and would just be guessing again.

      I found this British Integration Survey 2019 interesting. It doesn’t examine racism exactly but looks at how our society can be more integrated.

  5. live and let live Reply

    yes, well said………nothing will change without democratic consent.

  6. Seeking Fire Reply

    I continue to think about this quite deeply. I spoke to a black work colleague in his thirties who told me when he was five years old, his father sat him down and said because you are black, people will look and treat you differently and you must be aware of this and act accordingly. I was quite saddened and shocked. Fortunately, he has had no overt racist abuse for decades although believes people do treat him differently.

    I also listened to a few black sports presenters who talked about how they or their family had been overtly racially abused in recent years, which actually made me quite angry. I continue to think that overt racial abuse is falling significantly in the UK and that each generation will become more tolerant and less prejudiced. But it is clearly a problem in some areas, needs stamping out and institutional racism is more of an issue as you say. That has as much to do with media and society and individuals. As I discussed with my work colleague, I do feel introspection and discussion and debate are the way forward here to change attitudes for the better. I do not think other people telling people this is what you have to think and feel is effective. I listed to one black sportsman say all we want is equality of opportunity and not outcome, which i totally agree with.

    The fact that the UK is having this debate and that people who are not black are equally committed as black people to stamping out racism against black people shows this country in a very positive light compared to other countries in my view. And of course prejudice against black people is just one area where this should be considered. The attitude of one country to its minorities is absolutely shocking and is potentially quite terrifying for the future in my opinion.

    With regards to stop and search, I do feel the police are caught in the middle. On the one hand, police are deeply criticised in that black people are far more likely to be stopped than white people. But in London, for example, as you probably know, the 2017 Lammy report showed that 2/3 of knife crime was committed by black, male, young people.

    https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/mopac_justice_matters_13_march_2018_disproportionality_slides.pdf#page=11

    Therefore the police, who have very limited resources have to concentrate their stop and search tactics where it will be most effective. The following two links confirmed that in London (a) black people were much more likely to be stopped and (b) young people were much more likely to be stopped and (c) male people were much more likely to be stopped

    https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/crime-justice-and-the-law/policing/stop-and-search/latest
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/865705/stop-and-searches-in-london-by-age-group/

    Put it another way, the police are not stopping either elderly black women, men, or young black women, elderly white women or men. they are stopping young, black, men. Therefore as an outsider it feels hard for me to criticise the police. Several years ago when knife crime was increasing, the police were under pressure and stop and search rates went back up (having fallen in recent years, which may have been a cause of increasing knife crime) and I imagine they continue to stop and search young black men as it is the most likely identifier.

    The problem is that stop and search is a very blunt tool and that the vast majority of young black men have no intention of knife crime and so if I was a young black man, I would be extremely annoyed if I kept being searched. Here I feel education is needed to explain to the wider population that race is irrelevant but poverty and other factors are not and black people in London are more likely to live in poverty than other races – not withstanding that it is a very small minority of the BAME population. And so associating black people with knife crime is entirely wrong. I am not pretending to know the answer but I feel that I cannot conclude increased stop and search emphasis on young black men is any evidence of racist behaviour by the police. I am open to having my views challenged and indeed changed.

    https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/uk-population-by-ethnicity/demographics/people-living-in-deprived-neighbourhoods/latest

    • Cashflow Cop Post author

      Welcome back Seeking Fire. I too have found that I’ve been thinking about this topic and it is brought up in conversation in one way or another within my household on a daily basis.

      I think whilst overt racism continues to be under-reported, the biggest issue is institutional racism, where discrimination takes place in an environment that has become so common-place that it becomes indistinguishable to normal accepted practices. In its worst form, it becomes unrecognisable even to those who are affected by it the most.

      For example, in one study which is replicated in others found that “British citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds have to send, on average, 60% more job applications to get a positive response from employers compared to their white counterparts”.

      Stop and Search is such a complex issue which on the face of it presents as if the solution is simple and that the reason is clear. The reality is that this can’t be further from the truth.

      Phrases like: “crime is not proportionate and the root causes are complex”; whilst I agree with that comment, I find that sometimes it is used as a reason to not try to understand the root cause/s. At best, it’s either placed in the too difficult box; or at worst there is deliberate avoidance due to fear of possibly confirming something does not want to be confirmed. After all, the lack of causal evidence means that other possibilities other than racial discrimination remains on the table.

      In relation to knife-crime. Anecdotally and purely based on my own personal experience as a Neighbourhood Officer, Patrol Office and CID; I did not find a pattern where more Black males carried knives (or other weapons) than White males. This could be down to the demographic of the constabulary I Police, or some other factor.

      Also, there is a part of me which feels the stats around disproportionate stop search for Black individuals is a self fulfilling prophecy. Are these figure high because the Police and Criminal Justice system have an unfair bias towards Black individuals? I.e. are Officers finding the grounds to stop more Black people simply because that’s where they are looking the hardest? Is selection bias at play here? If the stops and searches were randomised; would we observe the same outcome in a White population sample?

      You have alluded to property and other social factors are likely to play an important role here; and I completely agree. Even if the practices are proven to be not discriminatory, studies are peer reviewed and findings robust; then what is it about our society which allows for such outcomes to be observed?

      “I imagine they continue to stop and search young black men as it is the most likely identifier.”

      That alone would be racial profiling and racial discrimination – there needs to be other grounds under normal stop search powers. I have read stats to suggest that in London, two-thirds of under 25 knife possession offenders were BAME.

      The stats are clear and easy obtain. What is more difficult to understand is whether the policies and practices which have produced those outcomes are fair – see above about sampling bias.

      “I cannot conclude increased stop and search emphasis on young black men is any evidence of racist behaviour by the police.”

      Based on that alone, it is the same conclusion I have drawn; but I am very ready to change my opinion if presented with more compelling evidence. However, when taken into consideration everything else, it still leaves me very much on the fence; not in terms of “racist behaviour”, but in terms of unfair outcomes. The latter gives room for both conscious and unconscious bias; whereas the former does not allow for unconscious bias. In my humble opinion.

      Thank you for such a reflective and thoughtful response.

  7. Pingback: June 2020 Savings, plus other updates - Quietly SavingQuietly Saving

Leave a Reply